Wilson not fazed by move, pressure
NC State transfer ready to earn Wisconsin’s starting QB job
MADISON, Wis. -- Russell Wilson is not fazed by the hype created by his move to Wisconsin.
Wilson says Sunday at the Badgers' media day that he is "not really worried about" the pressure, despite being touted as the final piece to a national championship puzzle, or at the very least a Big Ten Conference championship game victory.
"The most important thing is putting the work in; do something special every day in terms of my work ethic," Wilson said. "Be special, don't do the average. Don't do good, do great. That's my mindset."
Wilson left North Carolina State after coach Tom O'Brien wanted the three-year starter to be more committed to the program and participate in spring drills rather than play minor league baseball for the Colorado Rockies.
The 5-foot-11, 210-pound Wilson has already graduated from N.C. State, so he is eligible to play right away in 2011 without sitting out under normal transfer rules after picking Wisconsin ahead of Auburn on June 27.
Wilson has only one year of eligibility remaining and also less than a month before Wisconsin hosts UNLV in its season opener on Sept. 1.
Despite a short acclimation period since arriving in Madison last month, Wilson said he is as eager as the fans and his teammates to see what happens this season.
"When I first got here, I had a team meeting and told the guys I'm here to work," he said. "I'm here to put in the effort every single day and put in the extra work as well.
"More than anything, it's been about getting to know the guys and getting ready for the season physically. I've been working out, running and lifting and getting to know Madison a little bit. I've never been here. It's a great city and great atmosphere. I can't wait to play here. It should be fun."
Senior offensive tackle Josh Oglesby said the Badgers welcomed Wilson with open arms.
"Russell has fit in great here. It's like he isn't even a transfer," Oglesby said. "Today we had a little dance battle between the freshmen and seeing as Russell is a rookie here, we made him hop in there, too. I think he did pretty well, too, to be on the spot like that."
As a junior, Wilson passed for 3,663 yards and 28 touchdowns while leading the Wolfpack to a victory against West Virginia in the Champs Sports Bowl.
Wisconsin coach Bret Bielema said Wilson won't be handed the starting quarterback job but will have to win it against sophomore Jon Budmayr.
"He doesn't take anything for granted and he doesn't want anything given to him," Bielema said of Wilson, who earned Atlantic Coast Conference second-team honors last season.
"In sports, nothing's ever guaranteed. Nothing should ever be promised," he said. "I'm a competitor every single day and I want to be the best quarterback that steps on the field every single Saturday or Thursday.
"As a quarterback, you have to be a leader and get through the ebbs and flows of the game and weather the storm. That's the main thing I bring to the table."
Wilson said he expects to be ready for the season opener in three weeks.
"I'm a quick learner but that's a good thing. It's not too different from my N.C. State offense," he said. "The concepts are very similar, which is a good thing for me. I just have to learn something new every day and take it all in."